My fourth grade teacher, Ms. Savur, probably had no idea that her praise of my mystery picture book, painstakingly woven together with pale blue yarn and featuring a madcap plot of missing jewelry and secret bathroom passageways, would lead to arguments with my parents at age 18 and, eventually, culminate in the first English major in my family.

Illustration by Megan Mulholland

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Ever since I learned how to read, I loved doing it. I read everything I could get my hands on. I was an avid reader of cereal boxes, airplane safety guides, “The Babysitters Club” books … You name it and I probably wanted to read it — that is, if I hadn’t gotten to it already. I was proud of this fact about myself. I beamed when, in third grade, I read the most books of any student in my class. I held my head high when, during the summer before fourth grade, my family made fun of me for reading (attempting, really) “”The Fellowship of the Rings” and carrying around a dictionary. I barely understood what was going on and it scared the shit out of me, but I loved every minute of it.

It wasn’t until Ms. Savur told me what a good writer I was that I got this notion in my head — I could be someone whose works other nerdy kids (like me) could pick up and read one day. Starting that day, I was a writer. Thus, it began with me penning odes to food, writing stories about talking rabbits and progressed into me writing articles for newspapers as well as websites. To my parent’s dismay, this was not just a phase that I eventually grew out of or a dream that I soon became disillusioned with.

Everything came to a head during my senior year of high school. All anybody — including my parents — wanted to know about me was what I wanted to major in, and what my future career plans were. I was honest. I wanted to spend the rest of my life writing. I wasn’t sure if it would be through journalism, creative fiction, technical writing — but I was going to always write. This was mostly met with a range of negative reactions. “What will you do with a major in English?” “You won’t be able to support yourself!” “There’s a high chance you’re going to be living with your parents for the rest of your life.”

I disregarded all the negativity. Maybe I was — and am — delusional, but only time will tell and I’m willing to see it through.

My parents and I have come to an understanding of sorts by now. They have accepted that I’m stubborn and pigheaded. Conversely, I’ve accepted that in a family of engineers, doctors and lawyers, it’s hard to have a daughter who wants to be a writer. However, many still don’t understand why I do what I do. I could tell people about becoming an effective communicator or developing critical thinking and problem solving skills, but the truth is, I write because it’s what makes me happy. Perhaps this is a cliché, but it’s at the heart of my ambitions. Spending hours trying to pin down my floating thoughts, obsessing over synonyms and comma placements fills me with a kind of frenzied excitement that I can’t adequately explain. Writing is painful, frustrating, time-consuming but ultimately the most rewarding activity that I do. Nothing can come close to the sense of fulfillment that comes from looking at one of my finished writing pieces. Words on a sheet of paper are not just words for me. Within the graceful curl and sharp edge of each and every word, my emotions, thoughts, desires and dreams are embedded.

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